Community residential units stand empty

The Gauteng legislature's MPL DA Gauteng shadow MEC for human settlement, MPL Mervyn Cirota, and the DA constituency head for Bronberg, MPL Graham Gersbach, speak to a resident of Sethokga Hostel.

Residents of Sethokga Hostel claim that the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements had promised to allocate them new community residential units but never delivered.

These units were completed two years ago but are still standing empty.

Led by the DA Ward 100 Ekurhuleni PR councillor, Tebogo Masenya, the Gauteng legislature’s MPL DA Gauteng shadow MEC for human settlement, MPL Mervyn Cirota, and the DA constituency head for Bronberg, MPL Graham Gersbach, an oversight visit was conducted at the family units of Sethokga Hostel on October 18.

MPL Mervyn Cirota addresses the media during the oversight visit to the family units.

Speaking to the Tembisan during the visit, Cirota said they discovered that there are 16 blocks of flats with 222 units that are complete and unoccupied.

“These flats are in a good condition and are well taken care of; however, the design is not fitting for an RDP model.

“The residents who used to reside in the four hostel blocks that were demolished to make way for the construction of these new community residential units claim that they have been betrayed by the department.

“These residents agreed for their blocks to be demolished as the department had promised to build new free family flats,” said Cirota.

DA Ward 100 Ekurhuleni PR councillor Tebogo Masenya, the Gauteng legislature’s MPL DA Gauteng shadow MEC for human settlement, MPL Mervyn Cirota, and the DA constituency head for Bronberg, MPL Graham Gersbach, during their visit to Sethokga Hostel on October 18.

Cirota said some of these residents were requested to move into the remaining 25 hostel blocks, but due to a lack of space, they were forced to rent accommodation in the township.

“The department demands that these same residents must pay rental for these new units, which they cannot afford as most of these residents are unemployed.

“This is another example of poor planning and poor consultation from the department. The department failed to consult with these hostel residents on whether they could afford to pay rental before constructing these units,” Cirota said.

Cirota said the ANC-led Gauteng administration made empty promises and created the expectation that residents would be allocated a unit in exchange for a vote in the 2016 local municipal elections.

DA Ward 100 Ekurhuleni PR councillor Tebogo Masenya, the Gauteng legislature’s MPL DA Gauteng shadow MEC for human settlement, MPL Mervyn Cirota, and the DA constituency head for Bronberg, MPL Graham Gersbach, during the oversight visit to the family units. The units, seen behind them, were completed more than two years ago but have not yet been allocated.

“Furthermore, there is absolutely no maintenance at Sethokga Hostel. Almost all the hostel blocks have water leakages and sewer blockages and inadequate privacy, sanitation and kitchen facilities. These hostel blocks are overcrowded and are not suitable for human habitation. The department must convert these new units into RDP walk-up flats. The original residents of these demolished blocks are supposed to be the beneficiaries of these new units,” said Cirota.

He said the DA is concerned that if these units remain empty, they will be vandalised and illegally occupied.

MPL Mervyn Cirota inspects one of the family units.

“We will engage the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements MEC, Paul Mashatile, as a matter of urgency to ensure that the correct beneficiaries are allocated to these empty units. This will be a step forward in improving the appalling human habitation conditions of hostel residents in Gauteng. This situation needs a government like the DA that delivers what it promised to its voters,” said Cirota.

“The DA-led City of Joburg coalition administration has recently delivered 456 title deeds to beneficiaries of state-subsidised housing in Lufhereng.

“The DA understands and values the importance of owning a house for our people as the city is also making 12 buildings available for the purpose of creating quality low-income housing within the inner city by working with the private sector.”

  AUTHOR
Malebo Tseke
Journalist

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